$16m upgrade to boost Edgarley workforce

TAKING SHAPE: Edgarley Assisted Living chief executive officer David Knight, nursing director Mandy Lee and board chair Alan Elijah on the southern side of the current construction site where the community and corporate space can be seen in the sublevel.

THE $16m redevelopment of Casterton’s Edgarley Assisted Living facility will create at least 20 new jobs, it has been revealed.

Edgarley chief executive officer David Knight, board chair Alan Elijah and nursing director Mandy Lee toured the construction site last week, given their first look at the major overhaul.

Awarded $14.5m in Federal funding, the redevelopment will replace Edgarley’s ageing 43-bed facility with a state of the art two-storey aged care home boasting 60 bedrooms, each featuring ensuites.

A community centre is also taking shape for functions and corporate use.

Mr Elijah said the project was a once in a lifetime opportunity, recognising the vision and enthusiasm of retired chief executive Steve Toope.

“It’s a significant undertaking…a once in a lifetime opportunity not only for our organisation but for the Casterton region,” he said.

“We’ll have a minimum of 85 staff, which we think will make us the town’s biggest employer and the board is proud that we can provide this economic benefit to the town.”

Mr Knight said the building currently under construction was just half the project, with an almost identical building to join its western wall after phase one was completed.

“The logistics are significant, but our plan is to move about half our current residents and around 10 new residents into this new building in May 2021,” he said.

“Once that is done, we can decommission, demolish and clear the site for the next half of the project and the constructors will essentially build all this again, without the sublevel.

“Then when all the construction is finished, the remaining half of our existing residents and another 10 new residents will move into the second new half.”

Mr Knight praised Member for Wannon Dan Tehan and the Federal Government for recognising a project of its scale could never be funded through Refundable Accommodation Deposits and community contributions.

“On top of setting up Edgarley and Casterton for the provision of aged care services well into the future, the government funding has created local construction jobs and shores up 85 jobs in aged care for at least the next 40 years. It’s huge for this community.”

Mr Elijah said the board insisted the contractor used local sub-contractors as much as possible to maximise how much of the money stayed in the Casterton community.

“This is a community-owned, community-run, not for profit organisation and it is important to the board that the economic benefits of construction and of the extra beds flow on to other local businesses and families,” he said.

“We’ll have better working conditions for staff, there will be efficiencies once everything is under the one roof and financially it will be easier for management to run the Edgarley business.

“We know and understand our place in the community and no one is, or will be, asked to pay what they can’t afford for a room at Edgarley. Our ethos is serving the community and we are very big on not saying no to anybody.”

Mr Knight said expressions of interest from new prospective residents were now welcome.